CDC coronavirus researchers pulled from jobs due to threats, racial slurs against them

CDC researchers pulled from jobs due to threats, racial slurs against them

Federal workers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducting a door-to-door coronavirus study had to be pulled from their rounds after being threatened in Minnesota.

The teams were conducting free testing for active infections and antibody amounts, The Star Tribune reported. About 400 samples were collected.

One case involved drivers blocking the workers' car and three men confronted the team. One of the men had his hand placed on a holstered gun, The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.

Content Continues Below

The incident happened on Sept. 15 but was recently released, the newspaper reported.

State health officials spoke out about what happened.

“The team felt the intent was clearly to intimidate and scare them. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only incident,” Stephanie Yendell said.

In addition to the first incident, there have been reports of the teams being met by racial slurs.

“We had a Latina team member who said she’d been called a particular epithet more times in the last week than in her entire life,” Yendell told the Pioneer Press.

The study was being conducted in the southern and northeastern areas of Minnesota, as well as the Twin Cities area, but none of the incidents happened in the Twin Cities area.

State epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield understands the frustrations about the state’s response to the coronavirus, “but that is distinctly different than taking out frustration on another human being who is trying help and is especially galling when there’s a tent of racism. There is no justification for this — the enemy is the virus and not the public health workers who are trying to help,” The Star Tribune reported.

FILE PHOTO: Workers who were doing coronavirus testing in Minnesota had to be pulled from their mission due to threats and racial slurs issued against them.
FILE PHOTO: Workers who were doing coronavirus testing in Minnesota had to be pulled from their mission due to threats and racial slurs issued against them. (Photographer: James Gathany)